Stalking 4: My Chesapeake Ethic

Travelling throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed has opened my eyes to the numerous ways in which the Bay is effected and how many people effect the Bay on a daily basis.  Although the majority of these people, if not all, are polluting the Bay and having a negative effect, that is not their intent.  These people do not want to hurt the Bay, they are not trying to pollute the Bay or stop the cleaning of the Chesapeake Bay; they are trying to provide for their families.  These people are getting up every day and going to work, and if their actions are polluting the Chesapeake Bay then that is the price they have to pay in order to provide for their families and keep food on the table.  Each individual in the Chesapeake Bay watershed must have their own Chesapeake Ethic and understand that their actions have an impact on the Bay and that they can do their part.

When there are millions of people living within the Chesapeake Bay watershed in 5 different states it is easy to get lost in the numbers.  You think that your actions won’t have effect, it’s only ONE piece of trash that you threw on the ground or only a LITTLE bit of fertilizer was put on the garden in the backyard.  However, over time these little actions all build up to hurt the Chesapeake Bay and cause the abundance of pollution that has effected the Bay.  If each individual made a conscious effort to stop this degradation of the environment and do everything they could to help the Bay then the Bay would not be nearly as polluted as it is and Bay clean up would be progressing at a much faster rate.  However, I order to make this happen everyone in the Chesapeake Bay watershed must understand their role in Bay clean up and must realize that their actions are having an effect.  Unfortunately this is very difficult.  Marylanders often feel a very strong connection to the Chesapeake Bay due to the fact that the Bay is so close to them; the majority of Marylanders within an hour of the Chesapeake Bay or one of its tributaries.  This makes it very easy for those of us in Maryland to understand why our impact on the Bay is so important and why we should be doing everything we can to help it.  However, a majority of Pennsylvania is a part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed as well.  These Pennsylvanians do not feel nearly as connected to the Chesapeake Bay as those in Maryland because the only major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in Pennsylvania is the Susquehanna River and no actual part of the Chesapeake Bay is in Pennsylvania.  These people do not feel as though their actions are important or have as much of an effect on the Bay as those who are able to utilize the Bay more easily and are able to see the immediate effects.  Therefore, even if everyone in Maryland stopped polluting the Bay there would still be pollutants coming from Pennsylvania.  In order to help the Bay we must united the entire watershed and help those who do not see the direct effect on the Bay understand their connection to it.

Throughout The Trouble with Wilderness William Cronon discusses the ideal that we attempt to preserve the parts of the world that we believe are untouched by humans, but this may not be the best definition for wildness.  Humans are a part of earth and therefore are a part of the wild which means that the ways in which we change the earth and the environment is the wild.  That can then be translated back into the Chesapeake Bay; our changes to the Bay make it the wild place we now know and love, we must preserve and protect this wild place and do everything that we can in order to help it and protect it from future environmental degradation.  We must therefore reduce our pollution and impact on the Bay as much as we are able to.  Unfortunately, immediately stopping all pollution into the Bay is impossible.  Waste and pollution are a direct effect of day to day life.  Every time you flush the toilet that is using water and sending waste to a septic system, which will leaching into the ground and eventually groundwater which leads into the Bay, or to a wastewater treatment plant which uses energy and therefore fossil fuels to clean the water as best as it can and dispose of the waste.  Pollution cannot be stopped entirely, but it should be limited.  Everyone in the Chesapeake is just trying to provide for their families and others, as the Davis brothers said “We are just trying to feed the world”.  Imposing regulations on these people is the key to helping reduce the pollution on the Bay and help the health of the Bay but it will not completely solve the problem.  There must be some motivation due to a personal ethic by these individuals before there will be as much of an improvement on the Bay as there needs to be.

This semester has helped me understand that there must be an effort by everyone in the Chesapeake Bay watershed before the Bay can truly be worked on and improved the best we can.  I have therefore become able to understand how important my role in the cleaning of the Bay is and how I can make an impact.  I can buy organic in order to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer making its way into the Bay or I could reduce the amount of Blue Crabs or rockfish I eat or eating aquaculture oysters in order to reduce the wild harvest.  I am able to recycle and compose my waste as much as I can.  I do have an impact on the Chesapeake Bay, just as everyone in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has an impact and an effect.  Everyone who lives within the watershed can make a difference, just as I can.

 

Cronon, William. ” The Trouble with Wilderness; Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” William                Cronon. W. W. Norton & Co, 1995. Web. 13 Dec. 2015.

Davis, Allen and Olen. Personal Interview. 2 December 2015.

Advertisements

Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation is a global issue, but cannot be handled the same in all parts of the world.  Different cultures have varying values and do not all view the environment as something that must be preserved.  These varying cultures also do not all have the economic stability or status to focus on their impacts on the environment and the degradation they are causing.  The people of the Chesapeake are a part of a developing nation that is socially conscious and economically able to consider how their actions are effecting the environment and the degradation they are causing.  On the other hand, the people of Belize are a part of a developing nation in which the people must focus on surviving on a daily basis and do not have the economic ability to focus on their impacts on the environment that they rely on.

The people of the Chesapeake are educated about the ways in which their actions are effecting the environment.  Young children are taught through the school system about recycling and ways in which they can help save the Bay.  It is engrained in many American children from a very early age due to the societal expectation that Americans must save the environment. It has become a societal expectation that the average American family will recycling as much as they are able, and it has even become “trendy” to implement some “green”, or environmentally friendly practices such as buying organic foods.  The average American family does not depend on the environment for their survival of daily life; instead they drive to the store and buy the things they need.  The people of the Chesapeake have the economic resources to disconnect themselves from the natural environment.  This disconnect provides them with an outside perspective and allows them to judge those who engage in environmentally detrimental practices.  For example, the common person in the Chesapeake can go to the store and choose to buy the organic foods, even if they are more expensive, due to their judgement of the use of chemicals on the food they eat.  Some people of the Chesapeake have chosen to enter a new fields such as oyster aquaculture because it is seen as better for the environment.  Oyster aquaculture is utilized as a way for the people of the Chesapeake to maintain Chesapeake Bay oysters without degrading the environment and using dredges on oyster bars which essentially destroy them (Livie).

The people of Belize do not have access to a large amount of environmental education, they focus on learning how to make a life for themselves and how to make it through daily life.  Most families in Belize have their own small farm or garden in which they can use produce they grow so they don’t have to buy it.  It is not a societal expectation for them to recycle or think about anything larger than their society and survival.  Those who make their living in the agriculture industry in Belize primarily use slash and burn agriculture.  Slash and burn greatly increases degradation of the environment because it is destroying the soil health as well as habitats that the forest provided which decreases biodiversity.  Those that make a living in the tourism industry are large proponents of coastline development in an attempt to draw in more tourists and therefore make more money.  All these people are thinking about and focusing on is how they can make a better living for themselves and make more money so they can provide for their families.  These people are focused on the fact that tourism is worth $150-196 million, not the degradation that this development is causing and the increased runoff and pollution being put into the environment (Burke, Brood).

Environmental degradation occurs in all parts of the world, even if it cannot be handled the same way in all cultures.  Cultures like those in the Chesapeake should have strict regulations and it should be engrained into the expectations of society.  Meanwhile, in developing countries like Belize the people cannot be expected to recycle and be completely sustainable, they must be educated and given economic incentives in order to implement “green” practices into their lifestyle.

Cooper, E., L. Burke and N. Bood. 2008. Coastal Capital: Economic Contribution of Coral Reefs and                  Mangroves to Belize. Washington DC: World Resources Institute.

Livie, Kate. Lecture. “On the Half Shell: The History, Culture, and Future of the Amazing Chesapeake                Oyster”. 5 October 2015.

Sustainable, organic farming vs Monoculture farming

People all over the world take different approaches to farming. Two of the most apparent forms that we have seen throughout our travels are monoculture farming and sustainable, organic farming. Monoculture farming has been seen by almost anyone traveling the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Sustainable, organic agriculture is not common in the United States on a large scale. Most of the time sustainable, organic agriculture will only be on a garden scale for most families in the United States at this point in time. However, as we traveling in Central America we visited multiple farms that practiced organic and sustainable practices.
Monoculture farming is the most popular form of farming in the United States. It is almost impossible to drive around on the Eastern Shore of Maryland without seeing a monoculture like farm. Almost every farm that can be seen on the a Eastern Shore only had one crop on it, whether that crop is all corn, all soybean, or all of some other crop. These monoculture farms generally use chemicals in order to maintain the fields. The farmers don’t want other plants and pests to invade the fields so that the crops are not damaged or impeded upon. The American culture is largely about efficiency. Monoculture farms allow for extreme efficiency due to only having to buy and use one piece of equipment in order to harvest crops. The crops in a monoculture system all require the same amount of nutrients, water, and management techniques in order to thrive. Although these fields are extremely efficient they tend to be more susceptible to failure. If disease strikes a monoculture field the chance as of losing the entire field are much higher. This is due to the higher change of disease spreading and the higher chance of the entire crop suffering in the event of a drought.

Throughout our travels in Central America we saw a completely different type of farm: those that are sustainable and organic. These farms didn’t use any chemicals In order to maintain the crops, instead they used other plant species. The other plant species kept pests away and controlled the amount of weeds and unwanted plant species by taking up more room and sunlight. The use of other plants also allows for the farmer to gain profit from the harvest of any species and type of food. This use of other plants also allows he soil to not become depleted of nutrients. This was seen on Sylvano’s farm in Blue Creek, Belize as well as Chris Nesbit’s farm at Maya Mountain Research Farm. On a monoculture farm, using a single crop species depleted the nutrients because that species takes the same nutrients out of the ground over and over again and never puts them back in. Eventually the soil doesn’t have any more of that nutrient in the ground. However, a farm with multiple plant species contains species that will take multiple types of nutrients and the different species will replenish the nutrients that others take away. This system is a recycling of nutrients and allows the soil to remain healthy so the fields can be used for longer periods of time rather than being unusable after only a couple years of harvesting.

There’s a debate throughout the world of which type of farming is the best. However, many countries primarily have monoculture farming. Even driving along the roads through Belize and Guatemala most of the farms that could be seen primarily only had one crop: bananas, citrus, etc. Which form of farming is the best to use? Should we really be relying on monoculture farming if it depletes the soil and chemicals have to be used on our food when that can be avoided?

Stalking: Effect of Land Use on Ecosystems

The Earth provides many opportunities for humans.  Humans take advantage of the land in every way that they can and that effects the ecosystems of those areas.  Every change that humans make change the land around them and therefore the ecosystem around them.  Humans do not always think about these changes that they make and how these changes affect anything except for themselves. Humans use the land around them in ways such as National Wildlife Refuges, dams, and agriculture. Each of these things has a different effect on the ecosystems around them, some of these changes are positive and some are negative.

National Wildlife Refuges are established by the Federal Government and are protected lands that are managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  National Wildlife Refuges have very limited development; refuges are extremely limited in what is allowed to be done on them. The limited development on these Refuges allows for increased biodiversity due to the decreased exploitation of natural resources and therefore the decreased destruction of natural habitats.  However, humans can still use these Refuges to gain some value aesthetically and through recreation.  Some Refuges allow people to hunt on them but there are very strict regulations on the amount that they are allowed to hunt and what species they are allowed to hunt while some people just enjoy the Refuges in aesthetic ways, such as kayaking and photography.

Dams, like the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River, are owned by private companies in an effort to develop an alternative form of energy than the burning of fossil fuels. Dams have a major effect on the ecosystems around them.  Dams completely block off the waterways that they are on which makes it close to impossible for migratory fish to make it farther upstream to spawn.  This increases the density of fish in one area therefore increasing the amount of birds of prey and fishing opportunities in one area.  A prime example of this is at the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River in Harford County, Maryland.  There is a large amount of bald eagles and vultures at the base of the dam because not all of the fish are able to make it up the fish ladder into the Conowingo Dam Pond.  This decreases the spawning opportunities of these species of fish like Rockfish and American shad (Chris Cerino).  The decreasing of spawning opportunities decreases the population of these species of fish and is one of the reasons there has been a dramatic decrease in the population of American shad in the Chesapeake Bay.  This increased density of the fish population also effects the birds of prey that have the opportunity to feast in these areas.  The birds no longer have to struggle and try hard in order to find food to eat so they no longer have the skills that the birds once did that allowed them to survive when there is not an abundant food source directly in front of them.  These birds will now suffer if the fish are not abundant in these areas.

Agriculture is one of the most detrimental forms of land use to ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Agriculture is an essential part of the human culture and way of survival; without agriculture humans would have to return to using hunter gatherer groups in order to find the food they need for survival.  Lands are often clear cut in order to create agricultural fields which destroys habitats which greatly decreases the biodiversity of the area.  This was displayed throughout Journey 1 when Mike Hardesty told us about the decrease in the quail population due to the destruction of the warm season grasses in which the quail thrive in.  Agriculture also has serious effects on the ecosystem due to the chemical fertilizers that are applied to agricultural fields.  These chemicals are leaked into the waterways through runoff therefore increasing the amount of nutrients in the water.  This was evident when water quality sampling was done at Deer Creek in Susquehanna State Park.  The nitrate levels were almost double the accepted threshold levels for a healthy non-tidal waterway.  Most of this runoff probably came from the chemicals applied to the abundant amount of agricultural fields around the state park.  These high nutrient levels can eventually lead to an increase in the production of algae and eventually an increase in dead zones which completely destroy the ecosystem and make it almost impossible for organisms to live there.

Human alteration of the environment challenges the question of what is “wildness”.  Is the environment only wild and natural when it is untouched and unchanged by humans? Or are the changes that humans make to the environment a part of that wildness?  William Cronon explores these questions throughout The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.  Cronon discusses how humans are an essential part of the earth and of the ecosystems on earth, so the changes that they make to the environment are a part of the “wildness” of nature.  There is no answer to these questions but humans must be aware of the effects of use and non-use of land and its connection to creating a balanced and sustainable relationship with the environment and with “wildness”.

All of the things that humans do to manipulate and change the environment have an effect on the ecosystems surrounding them.  These effects can be positive or negative, but they alter the environments either way.  Three main changes that humans make to the environment is through National Wildlife Refuges, the building of dams, and the use of agricultural fields for farming. Each of these changes to the environment is important to humans and society would not be the same without them.  Large areas of marshes and important habitat would be lost or humans would have to go back to hunter gatherer groups without these different changes.

Cerino, Chris. Interview. 7 October 2015. Harford County, Maryland.

Cronon, W. (n.d.). The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature. Environmental         History, 7-7.

Hardesty, Michael. Interview. 8 September 2015. Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.

Conowingo Dam vs. Blackwater

What is the best way to handle the natural environment? Two optimal examples of extreme ways in which we can handle the environment are Conowingo Dam and Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. Should we develop and use the water and land to the best of our advantage or should we preserve the environment and keep it untouched by humans?

Conowingo Dam is a dam on the Susquehanna River which is used for hydroelectric power.  The dam completely divides the Susquehanna River and has two fish ladders according the Conowingo Background reading.  The dam completely alters the environment and ecosystem it divides. The dam stops fish from being able to spawn north further into the Susquehanna.  The fish are blocked by the wall of the dam and since they cannot escape, the area has become a prime feeding ground for large birds of prey such as Bald Eagles.  The dam also greatly affects the flow of sediment in the Susquehanna River. All of the sediment gets stopped by the dam and none of it is able to flow down through the rest of the river or into the Chesapeake Bay.  The dam also changes the flow of water. There is usually at least a small flow of water out of the dam, but when the dam is completely open, so much water is released that they must put out sirens so people know to get out of the water because the water level will rise at least a foot within minutes or an hour. In addition to the many ecological impacts of the dam there are also many anthropogenic impacts of the dam as well.  When the dam was built in 1938 an entire community had to be evacuated because their town needed to be flooded and put underwater due to the 94 foot dam.  People are also able to have much better luck with fishing in front of the dam.  This is especially true during spawning season due to fish not being able to swim farther upstream and being blocked by the dam.  This is the same reason that birds of prey are so successful right in front of the dam.

Blackwater Wildlife Refuge is the complete opposite of the Conowingo Dam.  Blackwater Wildlife Refuge is managed by the Federal Government, while Conowingo Dam is managed by a private company, Exelon Corporation.  The refuge is preserved and undeveloped, and is a natural habitat in which people can go to observe the beauty of nature and appreciate what parts of the Earth would look like without human intervention.  This is the complete opposite of Conowingo Dam, which is an example of human obstruction and exploitation of nature.  When people visit the Conowingo Dam, they observe a manipulated and developed environment as opposed to Blackwater’s pristine beauty.  But Conowingo provides a lot of power to a lot of people.  Determining which is more valuable is entirely up to the interpretation of the individual.

Stopping pollution

Most people are aware of the impending problem of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.  How can we solve that problem? Can we just immediately stop polluting or does it have to be a process? Within that process are we going to completely destroy the environment?  Unfortunately, no one has the answer to these questions.

Sources of pollution come from agriculture, erosion, urban runoff, and human waste.  Most people know that the main source of nutrient pollution is from agriculture.  Most people are unaware that not all of the nutrients are polluted via runoff, some of the nutrients leak down into the groundwater.  The groundwater generally stays in the ground for about ten to twenty years according to Dr. Rebecca Fox in her lecture on Nutrient Sources and Transport.  This means that even if we stop polluting and using excess nutrients on fields right now, nutrients will continue to leak into the Bay for another ten to twenty years.

This makes a huge impact on our society.  We are trying so hard to fight pollution, but we won’t see the effects of it for so long that people may lose their interest in trying to save the environment.  Humans will fight and fight for something, as long as they see that their efforts are working and that they are making progress.  If they don’t see that what they are doing is working, they will completely quit trying.  We need to ensure that we continue to fight against pollution and figure out ways to keep people motivated.

If we do nothing about the environment and don’t work on stopping pollution then the environment won’t be here in the future.  We won’t have natural resources to use for manufacturing goods and progressing our society.

Stopping pollution is essential to saving our society and saving the planet.  We must continue to work on the environment and fighting to save it.  Even if we don’t know the best way to do it or if our efforts are working.  We must do something, we can not sit back and let the environment be complete destroyed and ruin our chances of having any sort of future.

We need to start tackling all of the different sources of nutrient pollution and coming up with a feasible plan that people will follow in order to begin to tackle the problem.  Some sort of plans must take shape in order to make this work,

Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise is the idea the shoreline is retreating and the chance of flooding is increasing.  Sea level rise is caused by the greenhouse effect and therefore things such as the burning of fossil fuels.  The earth is heating and therefore the glaciers are melting, this is causing there to be warmer water.  Warmer water takes up more space and therefore when it replaces the cold water from the glaciers it takes up more room and causes water level to rise. (Mike Hardesty)

What is going to happen if we do nothing about sea level rise? Doing nothing about sea level rise means continuously burning fossil fuels for cars, industrialization, etc. If we continue to do this then the sea level will continue to rise and more and and more of the continents will be underwater.  This means that more and more of our homes will be underwater if nothing is done. There are already cities such as New Orleans that have to have pumps running all day, every day in order to pump water out and stop their city from going underwater according to Doug Levin.  If nothing is done or we do not move farther away from the coasts then places like ocean city and other places along the coast in places like Maryland will go underwater.  What is going to happen to all of those people that live on the water if nothing is done? This would mean more disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 may happen and many more people will be devastated and their homes and families will be destroyed.  We must do as much as we can in order to prevent this.

How can we help control sea level rise?  In order to help solve this very serious issue and prevent our homes from being underwater we must begin to decrease our pollution and burning of fossil fuels.  In order to do so we need to give monetary incentives to people for the use of alternative energies and begin to find ways to majorly decrease the pollution.  This has already began to be implemented through tax cuts and grants for people who put solar panels on their homes.  This needs to be implemented in other ways as well, especially when it comes to alternative energies for cars.  On the other hand, sea level rise has been repeating itself for millions of years; sea level has been rising and falling in cycles. (Doug Levin)  There will always be a pattern and at some point sea level will natural rise, humans just need to stop facilitating.  Humans need to stop polluting and stop the burning of fossil fuels and decrease the greenhouse effect in order to help preserve the earth and their homes as much as possible.

Stalking 1: Respect vs Exploitation

The New World; a place with endless resources and interesting new things and new people. The Native Americans had been living there for years but the Europeans arrived to a land more abundant in resources than they had ever imagined. There were two types of people in the New World when the Europeans arrived: the Europeans and the Native Americans.  These two groups had entirely different, almost opposite, ways of handling the environment and coping with the challenges they encountered. The Europeans utilized the land by exploiting it for resources while the Native Americans believed in giving back what they took from the environment, according to Warren Taylor, a Pamunkey Indian.

Native Americans appreciated the land, they worshipped Mother Nature and respected the land.  One of the most prominent practices for giving back to the environment was their establishment of a shad fish hatchery.  They created a system in which they would take the sperm and egg out of shad that they caught during spawning season and would mix them in order to help the fish reproduce.  One the eggs hardened and the fish had hatched they would finally be introduced back into the environment. The Pamunkey Indians created the first ever shad fish hatchery (Warren Cook).  Practices like these allowed the Native Americans to remain sustainable and to continually represent their respect for the environment, even in a society of industrialization and exploitation of resources.

The Europeans had a very different approach when they came to the New World.  They had never seen a land with so many abundant resources, resources seemed so abundant and never ending that the Europeans began exploiting them and using whatever they could.  They cut down trees for everything they needed and cleared land, leaving them with no protection from the harsh environment.  They used trees to make fences and homes, different types of native plants for roofs, etc. By the mid to late eighteenth century, the colonists were using one acre of forest per day per family.  This was not a sustainable practice and was resulting in an enormous amount of deforestation.  They were using many more resources than the Native Americans were using or ever had used at one time.

The Europeans also came to the New World in a raw environment that was almost untouched where there wasn’t a huge human impact on the environment.  The Native Americans had been in the New World for hundreds or thousands of years, yet there was very little trace of them that could be seen when the colonists got here.  However, after less than two years of being in the New World the colonists had turned the river into a dumping ground.  Anything they did not need they would throw into the river, including human waste.  It was things like this that caused mass epidemics, because they would then use and drink that exact same water.  (Seidel)

The Native Americans have severely changed since the colonial period.  After a trip to the Pamunkey Indian Reservation it became apparent that the Pamunkey Indians have modernized, although maybe not as much as many of the American people.  The Pamunkey Indians now have modern homes, although they are generally small and typically trailer like, they drives cars, and leave the reservation for employment.  However, the Pamunkey Indians still believe in giving back to their environment; they still have a shad fish hatchery that is ran and operated every year.  They are still doing some farming and have not completely assimilated to using different types of chemicals on their fields.  The most impressive of it all would probably be that the Pamunkey Indians have not industrialized.  They have managed to keep their reservation natural and if they want to go to most stores they have to go off of the reservation.  They do not have factories and large industries on the reservation in order to make goods; they generally make them by hand via traditions or they go off of the reservation in order to buy them.This keeps their environment clean, pristine, and beautiful.

The American culture has also changed over time.  The tour of the Baltimore Museum of Industry effectively portrayed this change from a mostly agricultural society to a society in which there were factories and cities were the most common place for people to live.  Society became largely about cheap labor and the effectiveness of production rather than farming and agriculture.  Even today, most parts of the country are not based around agriculture; they are still based around the effectiveness of what we can do and produce, even if it isn’t based around factories and cheap labor.

I promise that I have completed this assignment in the spirit of the Washington College Honor Code.

Works Cited:

Cook, Warren. Personal Interview.14 September 2015.

Seidel, John. Lecture. “Environment and People in the Chesapeake: An             Archaeological and Historical Perspective”.  17 September 2015.

Taylor, Warren. Personal Interview. 10 September 2015.

Messages through History

Having spent the last two days in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia I realized the big picture messages that are portrayed to visitors, both intentional and unintentional, which I didn’t realize coming here as a child or with my family.  Two of the messages that really stood out to me were how easy we truly have it in the twentieth century and how little Colonial Williamsburg acknowledges and educates about slavery during the eighteenth century.

Life was truly harder during the eighteenth century, during the time of Colonial Williamsburg.  Throughout this time people had to work for everything they wanted and owned.  If they wanted a spoon they didn’t just drive to Walmart and buy one, they went to a silversmith, gave them silver, and had to wait for it to be made by hand.  If they wanted food they usually had to make it themselves and only eat what they could make themselves, they didn’t just go to the McDonald’s drive through and order a Big Mac.  When the colonies first settled in the New World they had a hard time getting use to the new land and learning how to fend for themselves.  The movie The New World that we watched showed how the colonists really struggled to get use to the natives and make it through the tough, harsh winters.  Nowadays, we talk about how awful the winter is and how cold it is and that we want it to end but we don’t experience anything close to what the colonists did.  I couldn’t imagine having to eat leather and my clothing because there was no food.  We truly do take things for granted and don’t realize how easy industrialization and the advancement of technology really did make our lives. But at the same time they didn’t show the worst parts about life at home as someone in the middle class.  They portrayed how difficult some of the trades are very well, but they did not portray how awful life at home could be.  Dr. Seidel mentioned in his lecture how small the houses these people lived in were and how you could hear everything everyone did and said until the homes became larger.  However, there weren’t any of these homes that could be toured and no one I spoke to really talked about what they did at home or what it was like at home.

The more unintentional message that I got out of my experience here in Williamsburg was how underrepresented the slaves are.  We learned that the slaves made up over 50% of the population in Colonial Williamsburg, yet I didn’t see more than two African American interpreters during the two days I spent wandering around the town.  When I would ask the tradesman about what their interactions with the slaves and African Americans would be like and how often they would occur, they would stare at me with a blank stare as if they had never even thought about the slaves that had been there during the time.  I expected the slaves to be represented and at least to be seen and talked about more than just where the slave quarters were.  I even went to the exhibit for the African American church that was founded in 1781, according to the tour guide in the Bruton Parrish Church, but there was no one there to answer any questions I had and it was tucked away as if they didn’t care if anyone went there or learned about the African American culture.

What is your ethic of the Chesapeake Bay?

I was born and raised in Maryland, on the Western shore, eating crabs soaking in Old Bay and catching catfish and rockfish.  The Chesapeake Bay has been essential in helping me figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life.  Without the Bay I don’t know who I would be and I don’t want anyone to miss out on that opportunity. Without the Bay I wouldn’t have chosen a school in Maryland studying Biology and Environmental Science, putting all of my effort into understanding and protecting the Bay.  I want my children and grandchildren to be able to appreciate and experience the Bay the way that I did.

The Chesapeake Bay deserves to be cherished and cared for so that everyone can have the experiences and opportunities that I did.  The Chesapeake Bay’s wildlife should be protected and its fisheries should be regulated.  If we do nothing then the Bay will not be anything like it is today, species will start to disappear and it will never be the same.  The Bay is a living thing, it will always be changing, but not as drastically as it is now.

Humans have devastated the Bay and we need to help repair it by starting at the infrastructure level, as we discussed in Dr. Seidel’s lecture.  The environment is effected by the human sociocultural system, the lowest level of which is the infrastructure level that contains production and reproduction.  In order to help the Bay we need to manipulate the production part of the infrastructure.  We need to change how we get and produce our food; the amount of chemicals we are using on crops and regulations we have on the organisms in the Bay.  If things do not change in the infrastructure level of the system then nothing will change in the Bay.  It starts at the infrastructure level and slowly works up.  It goes to the structure and superstructure; the chemicals we put in the Bay and the ways in which we get our food from the Bay changes the way we cook our food and the people in the Chesapeake Bay region live and what they depend on and even what the people in the region believe in.

We cannot ignore the problems in the Bay, it is our responsibility to “fix” the Bay and keep it as healthy as we possibly can in order to conserve the beauty and the parts of the Bay that we have grown to love and care about.  If we do not stop using so many chemicals on farm fields and if we don’t stop overfishing and depleting our resources then the Bay will not be here the way that it should be for future generations.  We have to start thinking about the consequences for our actions before it is too late.  If the Bay is destroyed and not preserved it will be our fault.